Italian film distributor BiM Distribuzione has apologized after releasing unauthorized posters which promoted white actors over black actors in Twelve Years A Slave.
Unofficial posters for the film gave prominence to white stars Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt over the film’s leading man, Chiwetel Ejiofor.
BiM Distribuzione apologized for the “inappropriate” promotional material.
“We are very proud of the film and regret any distraction this incident may have caused,” a statement said.
“We apologize for creating and releasing unauthorized posters for 12 Years A Slave in Italy featuring Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender in a manner inconsistent with approved advertising materials,” said BiM on Friday.
“All inappropriate materials have now been withdrawn.”
12 Years A Slave tells the true story of New Yorker Solomon Northup who was kidnapped and sold into the slave trade in 1841.
Protagonist Solomon Northup is played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, earning him a Golden Globe nomination earlier this month.
Michael Fassbender, who has attracted strong notices for his supporting role, plays a sadistic plantation owner, while Brad Pitt – who is a producer on the film – has a minor role as a laborer.
The posters, which appeared across Italy earlier this week, prompted a widespread criticism on social media, for their focus on Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt.
Responding to criticism, sales agent Lionsgate’s Summit said, earlier in the week, that the posters in Italy were not authorized or approved by the producers of the film.
A statement said the company was “investigating and taking immediate action to stop the distribution of any unauthorized posters and to have those posters currently in the marketplace recalled”.